The large fencing was installed last week amid ongoing protests in the nation's capital after George Floyd's death

By Benjamin VanHoose
June 09, 2020 01:51 PM
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People read signs left by protesters on the fence that is preventing them from getting into Lafayette Park across the street from the White House during protests on Sunday in Washington, D.C.
Samuel Corum/Getty

Protesters have turned new White House barriers into a gallery of artwork championing the Black Lives Matter movement and other anti-racism and anti-brutality sentiments.

After the president's home saw the installation of extra fencing around its perimeter last week, demonstrators used that as an opportunity to promote messages of reform and hope while speaking out about injustice and inequality.

Much of the large black fence has been being covered with colorful signs, posters and other works of art sparked by the killing of George Floyd on May 25.

Among the many posters are messages ranging from "Police Reform Now" to "No Justice No Peace" to "Say Their Names." Other sentiments target President Donald Trump, with signs reading "Tyrant We Will Vote You Out" and "F--- Trump."

The president's administration last week had peaceful protesters forcibly removed from near the White House so he and his aides could walk to a nearby church, drawing widespread controversy. The White House said the visit was intended to project resolve amid chaos.

The additional fencing was added on Thursday, with a statement from the Secret Service explaining that "these closures are in an effort to maintain the necessary security measures surrounding the White House complex, while also allowing for peaceful demonstration."

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser criticized the fences in a news conference on Thursday.

"It’s a sad commentary that the house and its inhabitants have to be walled off," Bowser said then. "I think that’s a sad commentary. We should want the White House opened up for people to be able to access it from all sides."

Signs are shown hanging on a police fence at 16th and H streets, near the White House after days of protests.
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Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post via Getty

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Last week, a large street mural reading “Black Lives Matter” appeared across two large city blocks that lead to the front of the White House.

The yellow capital letters stretch from sidewalk to sidewalk on 16 Street, between K and H streets, and were authorized by Bowser, the Washington Post reported. The mayor also renamed a section of the road "Black Lives Matter Plaza."

"There was a dispute this week about whose street this is," her chief of staff, John Falcicchio, tweeted on Friday in a dig at the president. "Mayor Bowser wanted to make it abundantly clear that this is DC's street and to honor demonstrators who [were] peacefully protesting on Monday evening."

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The past two weeks have seen widespread peaceful protests around the country. Bobbi Brown of Bridgeport, Connecticut, opened up to PEOPLE last week about why she's attending the demonstrations.

"Our skin color should not be considered a weapon," Brown, 30, said. "It's not fair that black people have to walk in fear because of the way we were born."

"People who don't understand the righteous anger of so many people of color, I wish they could walk with me with the protesters," she added. "So they can hear with their own ears, and see with their own eyes, the deep pain that especially African-American communities are feeling. ... It has been a life-altering experience."

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

• Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.

ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.

• National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.